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Fight Club Analysis

2278 words - 10 pages


This essay will examine the use of mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing and sound in David Fincher’s psychological thriller, Fight Club (1999). Focusing on the opening sequence, this essay reveals how these stylistic elements intertwine within the narrative to communicate the film’s overall meaning. Genre conventions of a thriller film have audiences expecting to be excited, engaged, and encounter twists within the narrative. The sequence introduces the film’s two main protagonists, the narrator and Tyler Durden, and the character of Bob. Through ongoing subjective narration and flashbacks, the audience gains insight into the narrator’s bland lifestyle, recognises the ...view middle of the document...

Another flashback brings the viewer into the narrator’s bland and unfulfilling work and home life. The audience perceives the narrator as visibly unhappy with his life. In an attempt to fill the void in his existence, they learn of the narrator’s attempts to seek happiness in the accumulation of possessions for his home.


Dark hues of black, blues and greens, incorporated with dynamic use of top lighting, low key illumination, attached shadows and chiaroscuro fills the high rise building with a grungy aesthetic; a reflection of the ominous and pessimistic psyche of the narrator. Strong use of top lighting directs the viewer’s attention towards the narrator’s sweat drenched forehead, while make up has been used to make the narrators eyes look bruised and fearful, indicating a heightened sense of panic when confronting his alter ego.

Costume presents information about character attributes. While Tyler is dressed well, with his singlet showing his powerful arms, the narrator is dressed in unclean pyjamas. The contrast in costume depicts the narrator’s deterioration and loss of control against his alter ego. Tyler is seen towering over the seated narrator holding a gun in his mouth, further signifying his authority over the hopeless narrator.

The limited number of props included encourages the viewer to observe their functionality. The light situated at the window directs the viewer’s attention towards the immense city, highlighting the magnitude of Project Mayhem’s destructive plans.

A wide angled shot presents scene space and depth, with the narrator situated in the front plane and Tyler in the middle plane, overlapping the city background.
Bright lights emitted from the buildings direct viewers attention to the enormity of the city, while deep space suggests an emotional detachment between the narrator and Tyler and their contrasting viewpoints of Project Mayhem.
A sudden flashback thrusts the audience into the men’s support group. An overhead spot light shines down upon Bob and the narrator’s embrace in an almost angelic fashion, hinting at the intimate relationship between the two, while remaining men are bathed in shadow, suggesting that they are less important to the narrator’s quest for intimacy.

A third flashback launches the narrator’s work and home life. The colour scheme is bland and colourless, a poignant reflection of his mundane and monotonous life. Fluorescent, three point lighting fills the work place, reflecting the reality of his existence, while light emitted from the photocopier depicts his lifeless expression. The backward/forward motion of the photocopier alludes to the narrator’s ‘one step forward, one step backwards’ movement through life.

The same dull colour palette comprising of white, greys, greens and browns is depicted within the narrator’s home; suggesting monotony transcending through to home life.
As the camera pans across his house we see the Ikea items the narrator has...

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